“As plaintiffs have failed to show that the RES burdens interstate commerce at all, much less that any such burden is clearly excessive in relation to the benefits conferred on the state by the RES, the court finds that summary judgment in also appropriate with regard to plaintiffs’ claim,” the judge continued.
Friday’s ruling is a victory for renewable energy companies and organizations and rejects attacks against the RES requirements based on the notion that they interfered with interstate trade because they reduced demand for nonrenewable sources.
Amendment 37 was codified in 2005 as the RES, which would require that Colorado electric utilities provide a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The Colorado Legislature has expanded the RES three times since the voters approved the original RES in 2004, according to Interwest Energy Alliance, which intervened in the suit on the state’s side.
Sarah Propst, executive director of the IEA, said it’s important to protect the vote of the people and their elected representatives.
“Colorado voters and the Colorado General Assembly showed tremendous leadership in passing measures to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness. The court has confirmed that the people and the Legislature can shape their energy future,” Propst said in a statement Friday. “Colorado utility customers are already benefiting from affordable, predictably priced renewable energy. Today’s ruling confirms that Colorado will continue to reap these benefits.”
Judge Martinez on Friday rejected the plaintiffs’ early motion for partial summary judgment and granted the defendants’ and intervenor-defendants’ early motion for summary judgment.
Representatives for other parties didn’t immediately return requests for comment on Friday.
The plaintiffs are represented by David W. Schnare of Free Market Environmental Law Clinic and Michael D. Pepson of Cause of Action.
The defendants are represented by Assistant Attorneys General Todd Lundy, Will V. Allen and Kathleen L. Spalding of Colorado Department of Law.
IEA is represented by John Putnam of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP.
The case is Energy and Environment Legal Institute et al. v. Joshua Epel et al., case number1:11-cv-00859, in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.